The Presidential Daily Brief

intriguing

  1. dictionary

    'They' Is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year

    It's pronoun with a punch. Dictionary publisher and de facto guardian of the American lexicon Merriam-Webster has announced the gender-neutral pronoun is its word of 2019. "We've seen searches for 'they' grow dramatically," said editor Emily Brewster, noting lookups had tripled from last year. Interest in the genderless use of the word was stoked by events in the news, like singer Sam Smith coming out as nonbinary and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal's statement about parenting a gender-nonconforming child.

    What other words were hits? Following political upheaval, they include “exculpate,” "quid pro quo” and the equivocal "tergiversation."

    OZY considers whether genderless language can change the way we think.

This story is part of The Presidential Daily Brief

view full edition